Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The New School: Stan Klimley

When you look at this advertising illustration Stan Klimley did in 1947 you see a fairly typical, thoroughly professional, late 1940's piece of commercial art.

But by 1951, Stan Klimley is beginning to incorporate the thinking of the New School. Here he has zeroed in on the figures and begun treating the surrounding environment as graphic shapes of colour and pattern. The painting technique is still a little too traditionally rendered though.

Klimley was never as intensely committed to the New School approach as some of his peers, but he certainly seems to have applied himself to trying some interesting experimentation, graphic design, and page composition - as exemplified below.

And during the first half of the 50's, Klimley began getting more and more story illustration assignments from the major women's magazines. His work regularly appeared in McCall's alongside Coby Whitmore, Al Parker, and other big name romance illustrators.

In the 1953 piece below you can see that Klimley has now switched to the New School medium of choice: designer's colour (or gouache) and his work has taken on that nice, rough "chalky" quality.

All the while, Klimley was doing hi profile advertising art, obviously enjoying a very successful career, and at some point in the mid-to-late 50's, he became a Cooper studio artist. This 1957 piece, below, demonstrates how far even a less-celebrated New Schooler like Klimley was stretching his style - with admirable results!

As I was researching Stan Klimley's career earlier this morning, I was startled to discover that he passed away just yesterday. His obituary appears in today's New York Times. "A talented artist and prominent illustrator," reads part of his death notice. Stan Klimley was 86 years old.

* You'll find several other pieces and a small photo of the artist in my Stan Klimley Flickr set.


  1. Brian Postman contacted me via email and gave me permission to copy and paste the following here:

    leif i saw your "todays inspiration" on stan klimley....very interesting stuff....did you know in his later years he became a storyboard artist on staff at lowe adv.(i believe) friend charlie worked with him briefly....he probaly retired about 20 years ago?....i am saddened to hear of his death...another artist who worked with stan at that agency was dirk content...he was the son on dan content, the magazine illustrator from the 30's and 40's who was a protege of dean cornwell and saul tepper!....i met dirk about 20 years ago...i know hes retired in florida....i think hes still alive,and about 80 years,brian...

  2. Hi Leif- came across this as I was doing a search for some comp artists that I worked with in the advertising business. In the mid 1980's I needed a new comp artist as our staff artists were too busy on other projects Stan Klimley had shown his portfolio to us the week before so I hired him to do some storyboards. As the illustration business was drying up by this point, it was to our benefit that we had some top notch talent to work with. I remember Stan being very formal and of course very professional in his approach to the work. His talents way exceeded the job that was asked of him.